Royal Caribbean International has recently notified guests of multiple ship swaps and redeployments for both 2023 and 2024 itineraries. These changes affect a total of four ships, with sailings in Alaska, Australia, Europe, and the Caribbean all impacted.
Brilliance and Enchantment
The first of the ship swaps is between the Radiance-class Brilliance of the Seas and the smaller Vision-class Enchantment of the Seas.
Brilliance of the Seas was to have offered Mediterranean itineraries from May through November 2023, but those sailings will now be taken over by Enchantment of the Seas with similar itineraries and ports of call.
Brilliance of the Seas will instead be offering Alaska sailings from Vancouver for the 2023 summer season, before moving to Australia in October. At that time, Enchantment of the Seas will return from Europe to take over the ship’s previously scheduled Caribbean itineraries departing from Tampa, Florida for fall 2023.
Enchantment of the Seas was originally planned for the Alaska and Australia sailings now being assigned to Brilliance of the Seas. Instead, Enchantment of the Seas will take over the European and Caribbean sailings previously planned for Brilliance of the Seas, making this a fairly straight swap between the two vessels.
According to the email sent to impacted guests, bookings made for Brilliance of the Seas have been canceled.
“There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to shifting an entire season of sailings and rebooking all guests, so we ask for your patience as we work to make this process as easy as possible for you,” the notification email read.
Guests have several options to choose from, including rebooking their cruise vacation on selected sailings of different vessels offering similar itineraries in 2023.
These new bookings will be price-protected for the original fare, with $100-200 of onboard credit (depending on stateroom category). Limited reimbursement for airline or hotel change fees is also available.
Guests can also choose to move to any other Royal Caribbean International sailing, for any sailing date, ship, or itinerary, and deposit change fees will be waived. Guests will be responsible for any difference in cruise fare price, though if the new sailing is a lower fare than the original, the difference will be refunded.
Guests can also opt for a full refund for their now-canceled sailing. This will be the default option if guests do not contact Royal Caribbean International to select a new cruise by August 18, 2022.
This is a complicated situation, and guests are advised to be patient as bookings are changed.
Voyager and Adventure
A similar swap has also been arranged between Voyager of the Seas and Adventure of the Seas, both of which are Voyager-class vessels.
Voyager of the Seas was to have been sailing from Fort Lauderdale and Port Canaveral in the fall of 2023, but those cruises have now been assigned to Adventure of the Seas.
Meanwhile, Voyager of the Seas will be redeployed to Galveston, Texas in May 2023.
“Your vacation is important to us. While we’re confident you’ll have an amazing time onboard Adventure and enjoy many of the same features as Voyager, we still want you to have the flexibility to make the best decision for you and those in your party,” the email reads.
Guests booked on Voyager of the Seas will automatically be moved to Adventure of the Seas for the same departure date and embarkation port, with like-for-like accommodations and similar amenities protected.
Guests should note that pre-cruise purchases such as spa treatments or shore tours will be canceled and refunded, and will need to be rebooked on Adventure of the Seas when the new reservation is available.
Impacted guests have the same alternative options as for the Brilliance and Enchantment swap, including rebooking on a different Royal Caribbean itinerary or sailing with no transfer penalty, or choosing a full refund.
Why the Changes?
Emails sent for all the ship swaps cite the same reason for the change:
“The International Maritime Organization recently shared new speed regulations we must adhere to and as a result, we’ve repositioned some of our ships for our upcoming 2023/2024 season.”
No further details have been released about those speed regulations, but there could be several reasons. Ships sailing in delicate areas are often subject to speed limitations or other environmental restrictions in order to protect marine habitats.
It is possible that the impacted ships have slight differences in engine efficiency, emissions outputs, or noise production that now make it difficult to maintain the proper speed for planned itineraries while still adhering to environmental guidelines.
Fortunately, the changes are being made well in advance of sailing dates, giving prospective guests plenty of time to adjust their cruise vacation plans for a new and amazing sailing.